Main walk: 17km (10.6 miles)
Short walk: 12.9km (8 miles)
Long walk: 19.6km (12.2 miles)
Figure of eight walk: 17.6km (10.9 miles) or 20.3km (12.6 miles)
All walks 1km (0.6 miles) shorter with main road ending, and 3.2km (2 miles) shorter if you get a bus from Wadhurst village.
5 out of 10
|OS Maps||Explorer 136, Landranger 188|
The area around Wadhurst is one of the prettiest parts of the Weald – a place of hidden valleys, ancient woods, and quaint old farms which feel far away from the hustle and bustle of modern life. This walk gives you a perfect introduction to it. Starting at Wadhurst station, it follows the Sussex Border Path to lunch at a pub in Cousley Wood, and then descends with fine panoramic views to Bewl Water Reservoir, whose shore is open and unfenced unlike many other reservoirs, and which makes a fine spot to while away some time on a sunny day.
You then have a choice of whether you do a shorter or longer exploration of the shores of the reservoir (see Walk Options below) before climbing up to the hilltop village of Wadhurst, a classic Wealden settlement, where you can have tea in one of its cafes (Monday to Saturday), or in one of its two pubs.
After tea you can choose between a direct route to the station down the main road (but with a pavement all the way), or a quiet walk along the back lanes. It is 3.2km (2 miles) from Wadhurst to the station via the back lanes and it is probably best to allow at least an hour for this. For the shorter 2.2km (1.4 miles) by the main road, allow 40 minutes.
The walk starts and ends at Wadhurst station on the Hastings Line, served by trains from Charing Cross via London Bridge. Take the train nearest to 10.10am from London to get to lunch in time.
On Mondays to Saturdays you can shorten any of the walks by 3.2km (2 miles) by taking the 254 bus from Wadhurst village (the stop just outside the Greyhound pub, on the same side of the road) to Wadhurst station. Buses go roughly on the hour until 6pm. If you are heading for London it may make sense to stay on the bus to Tunbridge Wells station (about 20 minutes after Wadhurst) which has a much more frequent train service.
The Old Vine, Cousley Wood (01892 782271), 5.3km (3.3 miles) into the main, short and long walks is the only lunch option. Lunch is served from 12-2.15pm Monday to Saturday, and to 3pm on Sunday.
The best tea option, if you can get there in time (which is almost impossible), is the characterful Wealden Wholefoods Cafe. This shuts at 4.30pm Monday-Tuesday and Thursday-Saturday, and at 3.30pm on Wednesdays, with last orders half an hour earlier. The nearby Cottage Tea Room is a charming small tea room which is open daily except Wednesday until 5pm, possibly only in the summer months. Wadhurst also has two convenience stores that open late and the one opposite the Wealden Wholefoods Cafe does hot drinks and has a good range of cakes..
Otherwise, both of the pubs in Wadhurst serve tea in pots. The Greyhound, the first you come to, is the more traditional pub and sometimes refuses to do tea if its bar is busy. It has a well-hidden garden out the back. 100 metres up the road, the White Hart has been taken upmarket, but it seems happy to serve tea in pots.
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Out (not a train station)
Back (not a train station)
National Rail: 03457 48 49 50 • Travelline SE (bus times): 0871 200 2233 (12p/min) • TFL (London) : 0343 222 1234
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Full directions for this walk are in a PDF file (link above) which you can print, or download on to a Kindle, tablet, or smartphone.
This is just the introduction. This walk's detailed directions are in a PDF available from wwww.walkingclub.org.uk